otherwise known as Soaking Prayer
music or Soaking Worship music, is a sub-genre of Christian Music
, and is commonly used to denote songs that are used during contemplative prayer
in prayer houses
and other “soaking” Christian meetings. The description broadly encompasses any Christian music that is conducive to these types of gatherings, or serves the purpose of "resting in God’s Presence."
The purpose of Soaking Music is "setting aside of oneself to focus and meditate on God for renewal of strength and peace"
Practitioners view it as "an aid in seeking God" or "Turning hearts back to the Father through intimate praise and worship".
"This is about spending quality time with God without having a program to maintain. It is a time to focus on a relationship with the Lord where lives are truly changed".
Soaking music is generally restful in tone, and by definition to 'soak' is the process of being softened and saturated by water. In essence 'soaking music' facilitates a meditative, prayerful environment traditionally used for spending time with God. According to its advocates, during these 'soaking times', emotional and physical healings may occur.
It is relatively new genre on the Christian music scene. It finds its origins in the likes of the Toronto revival, and in International House of Prayer (IHOP)
Popularized by the recent upsurgeance of local prayer houses, it has developed to incorporate some typical characteristics such as singing in tongues, free praise, and instrumental sections. Often spontaneous in nature, the style somewhat resembles the feel of Easy Listening. It explores Christian themes, often focusing on the attributes of Jesus Christ and His achievements. Defining features include an unstructured approach with plenty of space and a relaxing mood. Simple and melodic lines are used with a strong presence of repetition. Sudden changes or upbeat, driving rhythms are strictly avoided.
Soaking music is not prevalent in a vast majority of Christian churches, whose services consist more of contemporary Christian music and praise and worship. Anno 2007 it is however growing among home groups and prayer houses. As a relatively new sub-genre, its growth has been rapid.
Soaking music has been characterized by some as one of the great revival movements. It has brought about new movements such as 24/7 worship. The style lends itself to being able to sustain extensive periods of worship, supporting worship covering long periods of time.
Current artists whose music lends itself to the soaking genre include:
John Belt, Steven Burgess , Alberto & Kimberly Rivera, Ray Watson , Keith and Sanna Luker, JoAnn Mc Fatter, Todd Bentley, Ruth Fazal, Theresa Griffith, André Lefebvre,
There exist some sites offering online streams with soaking music, some with different "styles" within the genre. MP3s can be either streamed or downloaded.
According to its advocates, soaking can be done as a devotional exercise, individually or in groups, with restful music or as intercession. Some report dramatic spiritual experiences, visions, visitations, a keen sense of presence of spiritual beings, angels, inner healing, physical healing, etc.
Although Soaking Music has been made popular over the last few years to contemporary Christians, others estimate that the practice of "soaking" is not really new. They maintain that the practice of quieting oneself through listening to soft music has a history in instrumental music, devotional music. A common concept is to open oneself to "spiritual experiences".
The term "soaking music" however is new, and is strictly used within Christianity.
"Soaking" is sometimes referred to as the Real to the spiritual counterfeit of transcendental meditation... Satan cannot create only copy that which is Real.
Practitioners mention the following practices as roots:
- In charismatic milieus, at the end of church services or conferences, people are generally invited to the front of the room for an "altar call", where people are prayed for, while the band or one individual are playing quietly, to soothe and provide an atmosphere whereupon both the person receiving prayer and the pray-er will be inspired to pray and receive prayer.
- During the 1600's, a French monk named Brother Lawrence wrote letters describing his daily experience of the abiding presence of God. A selection of those letters have reached us in the form of a book titled The Practice of the Presence of God.
- Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship (TACF) was probably the first to package this as "soaking prayer".
In recent years, a new passion for the restoration of the arts
as a spiritual language has swept over charismatic Christianity. Soaking music can be seen as being part of this movement, further inviting artists out of the performance mode and into the ministering mode, just as King David
of old, whose music playing brought peace to a demon possessed King Saul
Many contemporary Christian artists believe that God inspires them to create works that will affect people's lives, changing the spiritual atmosphere around them, body, soul and spirit. Opening a door to the spirit world within the parameters of the Christian faith and experience, these are called "prophetic arts", as they believe this corresponds to the definition of prophecy by Paul the Apostle in 1 Corinthians 14:3.
As soaking music is a relative new phenomenon, little organized and structured criticism has of 2007 been published on the web. But the practice does not go uncriticized. Some arguments being heard in discussions in churches and on web forums are:
- The practice looks much more similar to some new age practices than to traditional Christian prayer
- "the silence or sacred space that is reached during contemplative prayer/centering prayer is the same state that is reached during what is called kundalini (Thomas Keating, the father of the modern day centering (contemplative) prayer movement)."
- "soaking, ..., shaking, rolling, laughing, roaring" are nowhere in the new testament mentioned as gifts or fruits of the Holy Spirit
- "I laughed at people acting like dogs and pretending to urinate on the columns of the TACF building. I watched people pretend to be animals, bark, roar, cluck, pretend to fly as if they had wings, perpetually act drunk and sing silly songs. How I thought that any of this was from the Holy Spirit of God amazes me today" (Paul Gowdy, ex-pastor of TACF)